Home / General / Rape Culture #1

Rape Culture #1


It’s good that they’ve been yanked, but he fact that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board ever thought that those ads were a good idea tells us something about why stuff like this happens.

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  • Some Guy

    When I first saw that from your link, yeah I was shocked and had the “what the hell were they thinking” reaction. But as I internalized it and thought it over, I don’t really have a problem with it.
    Look, one could debate the culture of rape all day long, and if that would make you happy, then power to you.
    It’s a debate worth having.
    But it’s also irrelevant.
    The criticisms of the ad project quite a bit onto it, principally the concept of blame. I’ll get back to that.

    I see two ways of interpreting this:
    A: Getting blind drunk will increase your chances of being raped.
    B: Going for drinks and getting slipped a roofie will increase your chances of getting raped.
    Are these things not worth mentioning to women,especially to high school/college aged ones? Yes, the poster is being very red asphalt about it, but the fundamental message is sound. Alcohol impairs your judgement and decreases your situational awareness, increasing the likely of bad things occurring, from stubbed toes to alcohol poisoning.

    This applies to rape, which brings back that blame thing. The biggest accusation on the ad is the assertion that there’s a glaring, yet hidden, asterisk at the end finishing the thought: “And it’s HER fault, the dumb whore!”. which both says more about the critics then it does about the ad, and distracts from the key point of the ad in the first place.
    There are people out there looking to do bad things. If you’re one who is willing to rape someone to begin with*, no amount of “Rape is bad, mmkay?” is going to change that predisposition. You’re going to be looking for the easiest target: being blacked out is what we call a ‘disadvantageous situation’.
    Yes, it would be super if we lived in a world where one could get totally shit-faced, and wake up in the bushes outside their apartment with the exact same amount of clothes, and in the same location, as when they left the previous night.
    Or one where you could leave your drink on the bar and come back to get it without worry.
    Or one where you could leave your car in a parking lot and not worry about someone busting out your window for $3 in change on your dashboard.
    But we don’t.
    And people need to be aware of this. A quote from the Jezabel, “How about preventing one person from committing that next date rape?” which is all well and good, and as soon as Pre-Crime goes on-line, we should really get on that.
    But until then, everyone has a vested self-interest in making themselves as least-appealing to criminals and rapists as they can. Getting drunk to the point where you can barely function makes you appealing. Which is what the ad is saying.
    Is it crass? Sure. Is it tact-less? Absolutely.
    But is it wrong?

    *Hmmm, would there be much backlash against a “You could be one drink away from becoming a rapist” ad campaign, I wonder? Someone should find out.

    • sleepyirv

      I agree with all of these points. While telling women how they should dress is from a puritanical view that slutty women are asking for it, telling them (and men, for that matter) that drinking causes poor decisions and make you more vulnerable is pretty basic. The problem is that the ads are pulling a sort of Godwin’s law, figuring out what’s the worst thing could happen to women and using it as a cheap shock.

      • Ruby

        Well, that and the fact that a rape victim being drunk is often used by defense attorneys as a defense for rape.

        And very often they’re successful.

        Because there is a large segment of society that thinks getting drunk is also “asking for it”. And may rapists go free because of that.

        This ad plays into and reinforces that idea, thus supporting the ideas that women should “know better” than to get drunk. The subtext being that that those that do get drunk were “irresponsible” and therefore it’s their own fault, rather than the fault of the rapist, that they were attacked.

        That’s why this ad is part of the rape culture.

        • mpowell

          This is absolutely correct. If you tell people: “hey, don’t walk home alone at 3AM because it’s dangerous”, that’s okay because we don’t have a society that minimizes the dangers of mugging by suggesting that people walking home alone at night are asking for it. Given the social context for this ad it is unacceptable.

          An also, wtf is wrong with Philadelphia jury’s? That other story is ridiculous. I can see a she-said-he-said dynamic on a single rape accusation. But when you have 10 women all alleging drugging+rape, is that even really date-rape anymore? Not only does that guy need to be in jail for life, those juries are guilty of what should be criminal negligence in their duty.

      • piny

        What Ruby said. Getting drunk increases the chances that the defense attorney (and maybe the police, too) will insist that you were asking for it. This ad contributes to that problem. And speaking only for myself, I am much more afraid of a culture that permits men to commit date and acquaintance rape more or less with impunity. I don’t need to be told that alcohol is intoxicating. America needs to be told that women don’t deserve rape.

        • ginmar

          So you’re a rapist apologist, too? Niiiiiiiiiiice.

      • ginmar

        Drinking doesn’t make you do anything that you wouldn’t do sober. Congratulations, you’re a rapist apologist.

    • thebewilderness

      Are these things not worth mentioning to women,especially to high school/college aged ones?

      Every minute of every day, year after year, from the time we are seven years old? Srsly?

      There is only one risk for being raped. Being in the vicinity of a rapist.
      Just once I would like to see them run one of these prevention tips.

    • b.g.

      Of course, the silly wimminz don’t know anything about their own safety! It’s not like we have all these “warnings” pounded into our heads from prepubescence… we just needed Some Guy on the internet to inform our silly widdle gurly-brainz that it’s a dangerous world out there, and how dare we think we have a right to go out and have a good time without being raped AND blamed for it?!


    • ginmar

      Is it wrong? Why, gee, yes. You’re justifying victim blaming in the guise of common sense. Why don’t you devote this much effort to taking on sexism. Start with your own.

      The Army once did a study that found that 53% of rapes occurred after alcohol had been consumed. Boy, did they focus on that.

      They focused on it so intensely that they ignored the fact that nearly as many rapes were committed stone cold sober, and by superiors against lower-ranking soldiers. But go ahead, justify victim blaming.

  • Gee. It’s not like there’s an anti-rape movement and a whole slew of well-informed advocates for rape victims. Better for men with (or without) authority to tell women to be good little girls so men won’t have to rape them.

    I so wished that there were more and more affordable PCs the first time I attended college.
    While doing research on a paper about the problems with using the word “consent” in the Texas Penal Code, I read a very well researched book that described six kinds of rapist. The following is the “career rapist”. It would be nice if girls and women were educated about the different types of rapist, instead of relying on popular myth.

    Baffling as her experience seemed on that day in February 2005, Leigh was only the latest woman to struggle with the same confusion. Because Jeffrey Marsalis wasn’t really an ER doctor looking for love. He was an unemployed paramedic and nursing-school dropout whose true profession, prosecutors assert, was full-time predator. Investigators would discover 21 women who claimed Marsalis drugged and raped them—many listed in a file on his computer called “The Yearly Calendar of Women.” Authorities suspect his true tally is far higher. “Any woman was potential prey,” says Philadelphia special prosecutor Joseph Khan. “Plenty of women were attracted to him, but this guy was aroused by the very idea of nonconsent.”

    Sociopaths, for people who don’t understand them, are very confusing. They have a veritable gift for telling crazy, yet convincing, lies that would make even a very intelligent person confused about whether or not they’ve been victimized.

  • Witt

    If you’re one who is willing to rape someone to begin with*, no amount of “Rape is bad, mmkay?” is going to change that predisposition.

    Y’know, I’m not actually sure I buy this. We know from a lot of studies that a) some young men will confess to rape when the survey question is phrased as “had sex with someone who was too drunk or passed out to say yes” or some such, and b) that human beings as a class are highly social beings who are strongly influenced by their peers.

    So why wouldn’t we be able to reduce the number of young men who commit rape* by changing the cultural context that allows young men to believe that penetrating someone too drunk to give consent is not rape?

    I know it wouldn’t stop the sociopaths, but pretending rape is only committed by sociopaths is a red herring.

    *Focusing on male-female hetero rape here just for simplicity’s sake.

    • mpowell

      I agree with this sentiment. The number of self-reporting rapists in anonymous surveys is far higher when you don’t phrase it as rape.

    • Katya

      Not to mention, while there are probable some hard-core rapists who will rape no matter what, they are enabled by a larger culture that blames women for getting raped. If you can change the attitudes of bystanders and witnesses, for example, so that the guy’s friends don’t encourage him to go for the drunk chick because she’s too drunk to say no, you might affect behavior. If guys who have sex with women too drunk to say no were treated like pariahs rather than studs, you might affect behavior. If women were more willing to report being raped, instead of buying into the idea that it’s their fault and something to be ashamed about, you might affect behavior.

    • ginmar

      If they faced any social consequences for the actions and sentiments that led up to and let them get away with rape, I bet there’d be far less rapes, but so many men share those sentiments that they’re unwilling to criticize other men for what they themselves do. So their sympathies all lie with the rapist.

  • Patrick

    The problem with the ad wasn’t victim blaming. The prevalence of victim blaming in rape prevention education is much overstated, due to the fact that empowering statements (“you can help protect yourself if you do X, Y, and Z”) so easily compare to victim blaming (“Suzy didn’t do X, Y, and Z, so its her fault she got raped”).

    The problem with the ads is that they made rape look sexy. Flawless bare legs stretched out on the floor, panties around ankles… “rape is hawt” is not a wisely chosen subtext.

    • mpowell

      This is also a good point. The ad could have featured some nasty pictures of a rapist. Why didn’t it?

    • ginmar

      Thanks for the mansplaination.

    • b.g.

      Thanks for MANsplaining to us that rape “prevention” tactics don’t blame us for “not getting ourselves raped,” rather than blame the rapist for, you know, raping us.

      Given that decades and in fact centuries of these “preventative” measures don’t fucking work, I think it’s time to put the focus on rapists instead. Oops, that’d mean men actually have to change their behavior toward women!! Their balls might fall off!!!

  • Saurs

    “We feel very strong, and still do, that when we entered the initial discussion about doing a campaign like this it was important to bring the most difficult conversations about over-consumption of alcohol to the forefront and all of the dangers associated with it—date rape being one of these things,” says PLCB spokesperson Stacey Witalec.

    All this back-pedaling makes the ad seem even more nonsensical. A straight forward ad treating “date rape” as a danger associated with the over-consumption of alcohol would feature the rapist front and center and would discuss how alcohol lowers inhibitions and is used by predators to confuse and debilitate potential victims. Instead, you get this weird soap opera wherein drunkenness on the part of women is a clarion call for roaming gangs of rapists, who are just waiting for the next drunk lady to mosey on by to get her (deserved) comeuppance. In the real world, one half of the population can get as sloshed as it likes without fear that should something terrible happen to it in the midst of all its revelry, nobody’ll later blame it for participating in its own victimization.

    • Katya

      Exactly. An ad about alcohol and rape might talk about how rapists use alcohol to make their victims more compliant, or choose intoxicated women because they are more vulnerable. Or it might seek to inform men and women that intoxication is not consent, and if you have sex with someone who’s so drunk she can’t say no, you’re a rapist. You know, something like that.

      • ginmar

        Or they could point out that booze doesn’t make you do anything you won’t do sober, so it’s all bull.

  • witless chum

    At first, just seeing the ad, I thought the answer to see what you can do to prevent this was going to be “don’t rape anyone.”

    But that ad doesn’t get done, for some reason.

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